What’s not to love about Siskin River? Honestly, try not to immediately fall head over heels in love with the sisters that make up the band. Hailing from Australia, the duo has been on the rise with constant touring, energetic shows, and even living in the van they lovingly refer to as the “Siskmobile”. This alone peaked my interest enough to give their debut full-length “The Hours They Keep” an honest listen. The girls did not disappoint. Musically, they are as fun as they are excellent. Combining folk, blues, roots, and perhaps a little gypsy rock for good measure, they find something magical on this stellar release.
Songs like “Up” and the cleverly named “Fairytale Harlot” takes listeners to a place found only after listening to the likes of Fiona Apple, who is an excellent representation of the band’s quirky style and authenticity. Vocalist Shalane Connors sings, whispers, and laments with a smokey and sultry style on the highlight of the album “If I Was a King”. Backed with delicate banjo and vocals from sister Tullara, the song is a brilliant musing of the popular icebreaker. On the breezy “Train a Comin”, the girls beg for their love to stay, a theme that is also found in their outstanding track “Love Someone Hurt Somebody”. “If I’m all that you want then why don’t you love me?” they bemoan before singing the all too true statement “If you love someone, you gotta hurt someone.” The fun and dance inducing “The Great Peregrinator (the traveling song)” closes the album perfectly and might just be worth a skip ahead on your portable musical device.
In an age of carefully crafted images and self-promotion, it is always refreshing to find a band that takes music and not themselves seriously. Siskin River play banjo and ukulele, not because it is hip or ironic, but because it is a perfect extension of who they are and the art they wish to create. Beautifully crafted poetry put to instrumentation will always be in demand and should be applauded when found. After listening to “The Hours They Keep” on repeat a few times, I was captivated by their sound and I sincerely feel you will fall in love with them as well.